When to Ride the Munda Biddi

Perth used to receive moderate though highly seasonal rainfall, with over half of it falling in June to August. It is the fourth wettest Australian capital city, and is wetter than London. It feels like most rain in the region falls at night. Summers are generally very hot and dry, lasting from December to late March, with February generally being the hottest month of the year, while winters are relatively mild and wet, making Perth a classic example of a Mediterranean climate. The current drying and warming trend is changing that though.

The mean maximum temperature for Perth in degrees Celsius was:
30.5 for Dec 2013
32.2 for Jan 2014
33.2 for Feb 2014
30.3 for March 2014 (source Bureau of Meterology ). Personally I find those months too hot for mountain bike riding. Pls see my notes from a ride in Feb 2004 Jarrahdale to Dandalup. Don't just take my word on it - see: www.cycletrailsaustralia.com/7b-blog/last-thoughts-munda-biddi

Spring and early summer, (Sept to early Dec) with longer days without the heat, are ideal for your "end to end" trip (or E2E).
The Winter solstice in Perth is 21 June with sunrise at 7.17am , and sunset is 5.20 pm, giving 10 hrs 3mins of day light.
The Summer solstice is 22 Dec, with sun rise at 5.08 am, sun set at 7.22 pm, giving 14 hrs 14 mins of daylight.

The best time to ride the Trail is Spring. See why here:

Even along the South Coast, which is always cooler than Perth, the Munda Biddi trail will head inland and temperatures can easily be 5-10 degrees hotter than on the coast in Summer. This is especially true on wide gravel roads with no shade e.g. Middle/Boronia/Nornalup/Break roads on Map 8. On this section in Summer, the sand becomes less compact and it is like trying to ride on beach sand - nearly impossible. The wetter months are July ~September, a time when the huts can often reach below freezing point. The perfect time of year for me is usually Spring - Sept to November. The days are lengthening, the Spring growth is everywhere, streams may still be flowing and the days are a reasonable length and growing longer. An alternative is April to June - the weather is cooler, but heavy Winter rains have not arrived yet. A bit of rain has kept the dust down and compacted the track a bit and firmed up the pea gravel and sand sections.

After 10 days of cycling in Denmark, with temperatures in the mid twenties (degrees Celsius) for Christmas 2014, we had a hot day on the drive home (5/1/15). Denmark was forecast 34 (it was 28 at 10am when we left), Walpole was 32 at 11am, Northcliffe and Pemberton were 38, and Donnybrook was 40! Perth reached 44 today! Not a great day to ride - and I did see a cyclist touring on the Trail.

A lot of the Munda Biddi is in the shade of trees, but some of it is not. An example is on Map 8 (as outlined above), that has no shade for a lot of its length. To help keep cool, I carry a damp wash cloth clipped to my camel back/handle bar bag that I can wipe my face and neck with.

Coming from an indoors job to suddenly spending 60~70 hours a week in the sun means you must be aware of sun burn - even in Winter. In Summer, I apply sunscreen first thing in the morning and again at lunchtime. I also wear long sleeved jerseys to keep the sun off my arms, as well as gloves and a MTB helmet with a visor.

Warning: Because the Trail is in my "backyard" I choose to avoid riding it in Summer unless it is a day ride and the forecast is under 30 degrees. However, the days are long in Summer, and if you start early and don't double hut (ride two sections in one day), you can be in the next town or shelter before the heat is too much. The risk of heat related problems must be managed more carefully in Summer than in the cooler months - get it wrong and you face hyperthermia, which in extreme cases can cause death. Hot days, limited water, intense activity and riders inexperienced with these factors is a recipe for serious problems. But with sufficient time to ride sensible distances at a steady pace in the cooler parts of the day, everything is achievable, even in Summer.

I find the Perth Noongar people's weather a better summary then the traditional four seasons.

Season name Period Weather
(Whadjuk/Perth Noongar)
Bunuru February, March

Second Summer, season of adolescents.

Hot, dry, easterly and north winds.

Jarrah & marri in bloom.

Djeran April, May

Autumn season, season of adulthood.

Cooling, south-west winds.

Banksia in bloom.

Makuru June, July

Fertile season, first rains.

Cold, rain, westerly gales.

Djilba August, September

Season of conception, second rains.

Warming. Many plants flowering.

Magpies swoop to defend their nests.

Kambarang October, November

Wildflower season, season of birth.

Rain lessening. Snakes start to emerge.

Acacias, kangaroo paws and orchids still flowering.

Birak December, January

First Summer, season of the young.

Hot, dry, daytime easterly breezes, late afternoon south-west sea breezes.

Christmas trees in bloom.

This page is the property of Follow My Ride, a website detailing off road cycle tracks near Perth and in Western Australia.